By Chiara Prato <email@example.com> or <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted November 2000
Summary: What if Lois's doubts about her wedding to Lex had started just a couple of days before the Big Day instead of a couple of hours before the ceremony?
Hi FoLCs! This is my third story… As usual I wrote it a long time ago… But I needed a lot of time to translate it and to find the courage to post it.
First of all I have to thank all the friends who edited it for me… and their number is constantly growing: Elena, Helene, Jeanne, Labby, Ray and Sarah (written in alphabetical order) THANKS GUYS!
Ok, now about this fic… It's set at the end of 1st season… just a couple of days before the wedding… and this is a "what if" fic:
What if Lois' doubts about the wedding had started just a couple of days before the Big Day instead of a couple of hours before the ceremony?
I hope you like it…and all kind of feedback is very welcome!
Enjoy it! ***
Lois looked at herself in the mirror. She looked beautiful in her wedding dress. She thought that the dress was much too sumptuous, but Lex had chosen it and she couldn't oppose him. She'd always heard that the husband shouldn't see the dress before the wedding, but instead he had chosen the shop, the dress and he was there the first time she had put it on. He had it made-to-measure without even consulting her. Lois wondered if he would behave this way in their new life. Would she have the freedom to choose? She sobbed aloud.
She looked again at herself in the mirror.
"Mrs. Lex Luthor, Lois Lane Luthor, Lois Luthor Lane… Lois Lane… Kent, Lois Lane…" She sobbed deeply. "What in hell are you thinking, Lois!" she reproached herself. "It's only your fear. Only your terrible fear… You *need* to see Lex," she told herself, "and all of this'll pass!
Lois repeated it again and again; if she saw Lex her fears would go away, and she would realize how much she really loved him, how much she needed him, how right it was for her to marry him. ***
In the same instant that Lois was miserably contemplating her future with him, Lex Luthor walked into his office, slamming the door. Mrs. Cox was on the phone, her tone formal but firm, as usual.
"Mrs. Cox, in my office, NOW!" The woman smiled, nodding, trying to cut the call as short as possible. Lex stood in front of her desk and with a sudden movement of his hand broke the communication. He took the handset and put it on the desk in order that no one might disturb their argument.
The woman followed him without question. She was used to the way he acted. This was one side to her chief that appalled her more than anything. He was unwilling to hear "No" from anyone. Nor would he wait for anyone. He had always gotten what he wanted, always, and immediately. ***
Lois Lane went to see her husband-to-be. All was in turmoil because of their impending marriage. There were only two days to go. There were people running in all directions, all over the building. Lois looked around; all this magnificence made her shiver. She didn't like so much ostentation. She would have preferred something much more simple. But it was too late now. Lex had decided and it would be this way. "I'm one of the richest men in the world," he had told her. "You wouldn't want me to act like a farmer, would you?"
In the general confusion almost no one noticed her. The guard tried to inform Lex's office that she was there, but the phone rang out.
Lois went in anyway. Mrs. Cox wasn't there. "What luck," she thought; she disliked that woman. She disliked the looks that Lex and Mrs. Cox shared, and she disliked the superior tone with which that woman spoke to her. She was nowhere to be seen. Lois moved closer to the door of Lex's private office. From behind the door she clearly heard a moan. Curious, she went in. The door didn't make any noise opening. What she saw made her stomach turn.
Mrs. Cox was lying on Lex's desk. He was plastered atop her, and he kept her pushed against the wooden top while he pawed at her in an overbearing manner with possessiveness that almost scared Lois. At the moment she opened the door, Lois saw his hand slip under the shirt of his secretary. Then she heard the woman moan with pleasure, trying to arch her back, but his hold precluded her from that action.
"No, Mrs. Cox… *I* conduct the play…"
Lois felt herself becoming faint. "Are you going to do the same with me, Lex? You'll decide the rules of the game? Well, I am not going to play with you. The wedding is canceled!" She slipped her ring off and threw it toward him.
Lex moved away from Mrs. Cox suddenly, cursing.
"Lois! What are you doing here? It's not like it seems… I mean… don't make a rash decision…"
"It's not rash! It's final!"
Lex moved for her and he tried to catch her, but she ducked the hand that tried to grab her. Lois kept staring at his hand and was sickened. Then she turned on him. "How could you treat me like this!? "
"Lois… listen to me!" It wasn't a plea. It was an order.
"I don't want to see you ever again!" Lois turned and walked out of the building. ***
She walked around all day, broken and desperate. She had trusted Lex. How could he do that to her? She had lost all her friends because of him. She was alone now. No more Planet, no Perry, no Jimmy. No Clark. He had confessed his love for her and she had refused him; no wonder he wouldn't see her again.
She never knew how much time she spent walking around the city; she didn't care. It was already dark when she found herself in front of an apartment house, 344 Clinton Street, Clark's home. Without thinking about it, she went up the stairs and knocked at the door. It opened long moments after.
"I've been waiting for you… you're late… Lois!"
"Are you waiting for *me*?" Lois smiled.
"No… I mean… I thought it would be Perry or Jimmy or Jack… It's nice to see you!"
Clark moved aside so that she could come in. "You know that you're always welcome here!" Clark observed her; she had a look about her that was so sad. Her eyes were red as though she might have been crying a long time.
"Lois, is everything all right?"
Lois sat on the couch and Clark sat next to her.
"Sure…" Her voice trembled furiously. "It's just that I didn't know where else to go…" She stilled for a moment. "What are you going to do over the next couple of days? I thought I'd go away… would you like to come with me? I thought, well, I don't know, maybe to the ocean, or the mountains, or the country. I don't care… just so it's a calm place, far from everything…"
"Are you scared about the wedding?" Lois stared at him with such a sad look that he felt his heart was going to break.
"What wedding, Clark? There isn't going to be a wedding…"
"Lois, what happened?" Unable to suppress them, the tears started to roll down her face.
"While I was trying on my wedding dress… I realized that… that I was very scared… and so I went to see Lex… I needed to see him, to calm me down…" She looked at Clark, who felt himself grow cold just hearing her say that man's name "He was there… on Mrs. Cox. They were… were…" She burst out sobbing and he took her in his arms.
Just to be able to breathe her scent again… Clark closed his eyes, breathing deeply.
"How could he… I trusted him…"
He hated that man. He always had. And he knew — Clark knew that sooner or later he was going to hurt her. But he hadn't imagined that it could happen so soon. How could he explain to Lois the disdain he felt for that man and what good luck it was that she had her wedding canceled…? How could he tell Lois that she had her freedom back…? But she sobbed in his arms.
"I know, honey… I know!"
"Why? What's wrong with me?"
"You are perfect… just as you are…"
Then he smiled at the sound of his words. Lois pulled away from him a bit until she was able to look into his eyes.
"I've behaved so badly with you… how can you be so good to me…? I don't deserve you… I don't deserve your friendship."
Lois… I love you… and you know that… I'll be there for you, always!"
The tears started to roll down her face again. "Please forgive me… I… how could I treat you this way…?"
"You just did the right thing for yourself… You weren't in love with me. You were honest, and somehow we're still friends, right?"
"Oh Clark … you are so… wonderful!"
Lois leaned over to give him a kiss on his cheek, but their mouths met and their tongues tasted each other. She started to explore his lips, his face, his neck. Clark was surprised, but his body responded to her in a way he'd never felt before.
"Please, Clark, I need you… now… please." Her voice was husky and trembling.
Her heart, her mind, her body were screaming. She needed so much to feel loved. The affection she felt for Clark, the emotion she was feeling being in his arms, was something that was beyond all the rest. She only wanted to feel loved. She needed it, and she knew that Clark loved her. She wasn't sure that she felt the same for him, but she could feel his love and his affection flowing in her body, making her forget the hurt caused by the man she'd been about to marry.
Clark couldn't believe the emotions he was feeling. He felt her breath on his skin, a host of new sensations, and suddenly he was overwhelmed by feelings and emotions that he had never experienced before. He knew that it wasn't right. He knew that he should stop her… but he was kissing the woman he loved more than everyone else in the world.
Clark tensed. "Lois… no… Lois… it's not right." Lois looked into his eyes.
"Why? I need you so much…"
"Lois, I've wanted you since the day I met you… but it's not right, not now… I don't want to be with you only because you are angry or sad or hurt. I love you so much… I can't do this to you… Do you understand what I mean?" The tears started rolling down her cheeks again.
"Please, Clark, forgive me, for all… I have done to you… You want me to leave now… don't you? I've hurt you enough…"
"Lois, I've never wanted you to leave me… I'd like to stay with you forever, but for the right reasons… Please, don't go away now…"
"Are you still my best friend?"
"I will be forever if you want me to!" Lois smiled, despite her tears. Clark held her in his arms.
At the same moment Perry, Jimmy and Jack came into the house.
"Clark… you left your door open… Lois! Honey… I'm so glad to see… hey!" Perry came over to her and stroked her head. "Honey… what's happened?" Lois smiled, despite her tears, and wiped her face with the back of her hand.
"Now I feel better… I'm here with my friends again!"
"Honey… it's good to have you with us again!"
Lois closed her eyes, sniffling. "I thought I'd lost all of you!"
Clark moved closer to her ear and whispered "Never!" She snuggled closer into his embrace.
"Boy, I don't want to break this up… but I'm dying of hunger… who's going to cook?"
"Don't look at me, it's well known by everyone… I can't cook!" answered Lois, raising her hand.
"If you want I can cook something…"
"NOOO!" Jack and Jimmy cried together. "Perry, we had enough of what you cooked yesterday… Clark," Jack went down on his knees and with folded hands said, "please… save your friends from a fate worse than death… cook!"
Clark hated to leave Lois, but he saw that she was laughing loudly. The worst was over. "You're lucky. My mother went to the store for me… with all this stuff I might be able to feed an army!"
"Thank goodness for Martha!!!" ***
They really did eat like an army that evening, telling anecdotes about the Planet and funny stories that Jack couldn't know, all the while carefully avoiding the subject of Lex Luthor. Perry, as a very good journalist, immediately understood that there was a problem and without letting his best reporter notice, warned the two guys. Only funny subjects and old memories.
"And now I'd like to go my place, take a hot shower, slip into my pajamas, grab my teddy bear and go to sleep knowing that my hated alarm clock will rouse me for a hard day at Planet." She paused for an instant. "Not only isn't there a Daily Planet, but I also don't have a place!"
You sleep with a teddy bear?" Jimmy asked without thinking. Lois smiled, embarrassed, covering her mouth with her hand. Her eyes were shining.
"How long have you been doing it? I mean… It's kinda strange…"
"Less than a year Jimmy… My bear isn't very old. Last summer someone won it for me." Lois looked at Clark, smiling.
"Lois, we'll think about one thing at a time… You can have a shower here… and you also may sleep here… we'll find a way somehow… I'll ask my neighbors for a mattress and a few blankets. It's not that cold. And as for the problem at the Planet… we'll solve that very soon too."
Lois stared at him and for the first time in her life she realized that she was totally enchanted by Clark. He was extraordinarily sure of himself and charming in a way that she had never perceived before. And she realized that her heart was racing as she met his eyes.
She felt her face flush and turned from his gaze immediately. "Can I really have a shower?"
Clark gave her a robe, one of his T-shirts and a pair of shorts that she could use as pajamas, then, apologizing to his friends, he went to his neighbors to get something she could sleep in that night.
His neighbors were… in Kansas. He flew to his parents to obtain a mattress and two blankets. He chose the ones Lois was going to use, carefully, soft and warm. He wanted to pamper her. His mother had made some cookies and gave him a few of them. She suggested to him to be careful with Lois. To go slowly with her but to stay near her because she needed it. She said that if Lois would like to stay for a few days at their place she was welcome. She recommended again that he not rush her, but to not let her run away again.
"You have a second chance, son, don't waste it," Jonathan told him before he went back to Metropolis.
In a quarter of an hour he was back. The only difficulty was in keeping all the stuff in equilibrium on the mattress during the return. The second difficulty was getting it all through the door.
"Clark, you are really lucky to have such kind neighbors in Metropolis… I don't know the names of any of the people in my building…" Lois had just gotten out of the shower, her hair still. Clark's T-shirt, which was too large, stuck to her still humid body; her legs were left practically bare by the shorts. She was obliged to hold them as much as possible, to avoid having them slip down. Clark wondered if the others there would like to touch her, stroke her, bite her, kiss her from her head to her feet, as he did.
"Yep… really lucky." Clark smiled at his thoughts. "I suggest you taste these cookies. They are great!"
"These are the greatest! They remind me of Martha's!" Lois answered after the first bite.
Clark gazed at her for a while without being able to speak. Jack, without letting anyone notice, gave him a little push with his shoulder to bring him to earth again.
"My mother gave her the recipe last time she was here…" Clark trembled at the thought that they might guess the truth, but all of them were so engrossed with the cookies that nobody noticed him.
He turned toward Jack, then widened his arms as if to say, "You see… there is nothing to worry about."
Lois stared at the boy. "Jack … can I ask you when… how did you get out… I mean… you shouldn't be here…"
"The same could be said for you too, Lois. Why are you here?"
The other people in the room froze; Lois smiled, in no hurry to speak. "It's a… complicated story."
"Mine too… but we'll talk about this tomorrow, won't we?"
"Perfect… did we make any sleeping arrangements?"
"Well… I guess… The two boys in my bedroom… Perry on the couch… no, Lois on the couch… no…"
"Clark if you're going to make me sleep on the floor you'll need a crane to make me get up…" Perry said.
Lois interrupted, "I'll sleep on the floor… it's not a problem, really!"
"Are you sure?!"
"Well, so it's all set then!"
The next minutes were a continuous blur of mattress, blankets and pillows, lines for the bathroom and also for the kitchen. The last of the cookies attracted them like bees to honey. Then slowly they all began to quiet down.
They were just going to get into their beds when they heard someone knocking at the door.
"Kent! Open this door… I know you are in there! Open up!"
Lois suddenly became pale. "Lex… I… I don't want to see him…"
Clark stroked her face. "Nobody's going to make you… go over there…"
He kissed her on her brow, then he turned to the young boy. "Jack, hide!" he whispered as he walked to open the door.
Lois hurried up the stairs to the attic as Jack went into the bedroom.
"What do you want, Luthor?!"
"You know what I want…"
"She's not here…"
"I see that the news travels very quickly!"
"Just the good news!"
"Don't celebrate too much… in two days she becomes my wife… In any case…"
"Don't be too sure of that…"
"You want to come between us? Or maybe your friend in spandex… That's very funny, you know? Lois already made her choice… and she chose me. What makes you think that she would choose you, a poor farm boy turned journalist, instead of the richest man in all the world. Don't you know that the richest man in the world *always* wins?"
"I've always believed you were a mad criminal… Luckily, Lois judges things a little differently she'll *NEVER* go back to you!"
"Oh yes, she'll do it… a couple of presents and she'll do it. Maybe I'll offer to make her a Planet director. Don't you think so, Mr. White? Just think… Lois Luthor, editor and director of the 'New Planet'… You see Kent… I love Lois, I do. I really do. But she's just a little too independent, don't you think? Well, I'll take care of that."
Clark shivered and Lois started to tremble. Those words terrified her.
"Get out of my house. Immediately!"
"Scared Kent? All's in vain… you can't beat me… ah, I almost forgot…" — He moved close to Clark's ear, as if he was going to whisper, but he spoke quite loud to allow all to hear. "I'll bet that Lois won't moan with you like she's done with me… Farmboy!"
Clark grabbed Lex's arms and he lifted the man a foot off the floor, barely keeping back the urge to hurl him against the wall. "And now, Luthor, get out!" Clark ordered, letting him go suddenly.
Lex barely avoided falling as his feet hit the floor, but this time he went out without being told again. The door slammed behind him, reverberating dreadfully.
Perry and Jimmy'd bet that they'd never seen Clark as angry as he was now. He looked like a bomb ready to explode. Neither of them had the courage to say anything. There was a long silence.
"Clark…" Lois said his name as if it was a supplication, an invocation, a prayer. The tears rolled down her face again, unrestrained. "It's not true… I didn't… Never."
Clark was next to her in a flash, holding her to him. "Hey," he told her gently, "you don't need to explain anything to me."
"No! I swear to you… I've never done it… not with Lex…"
Perry caught Jimmy by the arm and stopped Jack, who was rejoining the others, and made them enter the bedroom, closing the door behind him.
"Lois, I don't care about it… really, I don't care what he said…" She pulled herself back just the same that she could look his into eyes.
"Clark, I don't care at all about what people think of me, but you are the one I care most about in the universe, the one whose opinion I value most. I don't want you think… I swear to you Clark… I…" She tried to wipe her tears. "I've only been with Claude… I've been with no one else…"
Clark held her to him again. "Lois, it's late," he told her sweetly, "why don't we go to sleep… ? You've had a rough day…" She nodded and together they went upstairs. It was only an attic, full of books and a few other things. The two mattresses were one next to the other, divided by about a foot and a half. Clark helped her to sit, holding her hand.
She smiled. "Thanks."
He smiled back. "Lie down, I'm going to tuck you in."
"You mean it, really?"
"This is just the thing I usually did… I mean… when we were children… I put Lucy in her bed, tucked her in, and I stayed with her until she fell asleep…"
"Didn't anyone do the same for you?"
She shook her head. "Mother had her own problems, and Dad came home too late…"
"May I do this for you tonight?"
"Be careful, I may get used to being treated this way…"
She saw his smile as it shone through the darkened room. That megawatt smile. And he did as he promised, staying next to her until she had fallen sleep. He walked downstairs, where he saw that Perry had taken his place again in the armchair, enjoying an old movie.
"Have you thanked the fates?"
Clark sat on the couch. "What?"
"Remember the chat we had yesterday… women are a little like trout. You get 'em on a line, you tug a little bit too hard, they're gonna go free. You've just gotta hope that fate and the currents kinda drift 'em your way…"
"I should thank that… rat, Luthor… But how is it possible to do a thing like this just two days before the wedding?"
"There are people who act even worse… not that it means what that creature did to her was right…"
"Yes, I know… but nobody is going to marry Lois Lane!"
Perry smiled. "You know… I love her like a daughter… I adore her… but I swear to you, when she told me about Lex… about the wedding, I mean… I wish I'd slapped her and took her home to make her see reason!"
"Well, she thinks of you like a father…"
"Yep, Clark, I'll say this tonight only, and then I swear I'll deny ever having said it, even in front of a judge! You are the best thing, the best person, to ever happen to her. You made her live again… thanks… from an ex-chief, almost father and great friend…"
"For what? I said nothing. Somehow… son… tomorrow we'll go on with our plans to retake the Planet!"
"Do you want something to drink? "
"Yep, why not?" Clark opened the fridge and took out two bottles of beer, he offered one of them to Perry, but instead of opening his, he kept staring at it.
"Chief, how much money would we need to rebuild the Planet?"
"Too much, son."
"And if we could get a backer… someone that…"
"Who are you talking about?"
"No… How could he do that?"
"Well… finding gold, oil, plutonium… anything."
"Clark… we can't ask him to do this. He already does so much… for everyone… It wouldn't be right, especially for him… You understand what I'm saying?" Clark nodded.
"You thank him for his proposal… but I think that the world needs a Superman more than a Superminer…" He paused. "It's almost bedtime. We've been talking for more than two hours, son. Time has simply flown, hasn't it?"
"Yeah!" Perry saw him jump.
"Hadn't you heard… Lois…"
"Go… I guess she needs you just now!" Clark didn't need to be told twice. In a few seconds he was at the top of the stairs, a very good time, especially since he didn't use his superspeed. ***
The door opened without her needing to touch it. Lex and Mrs. Cox were lying on what would be Luthors' bed. The two were having sex. She was tied, and he kept his hand around her throat; then suddenly, Lois found herself tied without being able to move. "She's just a little too independent, don't you think? Well, I'll take care of that… I'll take care of that." Lex's voice resounded in her mind. "Lois won't moan with you, like she does with me…" and now Lex was standing in front of Clark and he pointed a gun at Clark's head. "*I* direct the play…" and now he pulled the trigger.
In the same moment, Lois found herself sitting up in bed trembling; a moan slipped from her lips. "Clark!"
"I'm here…" He held her in his arms, stroking her hair. "It's over… It's all over…"
She felt his hand massage her back. What a strange feeling… The hand was heavy enough to make her feel protected and safe, but quite light so as not to make her feel discomfort.
It was a while before he felt her calm down. He helped her to lay down again, as if she'd been a baby, and he gave her a very light kiss on her forehead.
"If you need anything… I'm right here. OK?!" She nodded and he slipped into his bed.
After several minutes Lois was still awake. Clark had stayed awake to listen to her breathing for a while. Despite the fact that she was not asleep, Lois tried not to move so as not to disturb him.
"Lois, are you awake?" That was a useless question.
"Listen… do you want… I mean would you feel better… if you slept next to me? I mean… Without…"
"Are you sure?"
"Well. I… I think so… but if you're uncomfortable…"
"Hey… If you make me uncomfortable, I'll tell you!"
Lois got up and slipped into his bed. She lay facing him. "You don't know how much it means for me…"
"Don't think about it… Now try to sleep. It must be after two…"
" 'night, Clark."
" 'night, Lois."
He kissed her again, this time on the mouth, a fast, light kiss, as if she were a child. She stayed peaceful, held in his embrace. He felt her breath on his own body. It was so good to hold her in his arms. She was soft and warm, a warmth he'd never felt before, a heat that made something move in him, and, now, not only metaphorically! Clark felt deeply embarrassed, waiting for Lois to start yelling out offense that he wasn't sure he didn't deserve.
Lois realized what was happening and that Clark's responses were very much prompted by their positions, tightly pressed against each other.
She'd known that Clark was in love with her. He'd demonstrated it more and more each time that day. She knew that if she moved away just now, she was going to embarrass him and hurt him, so, instead of the reaction he was waiting for, she held him tighter, and leaned on his chest. She fell asleep, without caring about anything else.
Clark lay awake for a while. God, this woman made him feel some new feeling every time he was with her. He wanted so much to hold her this way forever, without making her go away. To protect her from the world, from the people, from everyone who hurt her. It was almost magical sleeping next to her. ***
Clark woke at the first light of sunrise; he realized that during the night Lois had changed her position. Now she faced away from him, but she was still held in his embrace. Then he flushed as he realized the position they shared. One hand held the woman that he loved around the waist, as she did the same with him, slipping her arm under his larger one. Clark wondered how she could do it without hurting herself in that position.
His left hand was resting on her breast. Clark was resisting the urge to slip it away in a hurry when he realized that Lois' hand kept his hand pushed against her, against her own curves.
Gently Clark moved Lois' hand from his body. Her position was almost unnatural, as if she'd done a hurried movement, and she might hurt herself. That move, despite being made with the utmost care was perceived by Lois' body so that she moved slightly. And if his right arm tried to move itself without putting up resistance, her left hand tightened her grip on their clasped hands to lay on her breast, against her heart.
Clark felt her awaken.
"Hi!" she answered, without moving.
"We don't have to get up yet, right?"
"No… It's still quite early."
"I'd hoped so… I didn't make you uncomfortable… I mean… I let you sleep, didn't I?"
"I slept like a baby… and you?"
"Me too… I don't remember sleeping this well in years." She felt him smile into her hair. She pushed back at him, still without turning. "Clark?"
"Where have you been all this time?" He smiled again.
"Next to you…" was the answer.
"And why didn't I notice it…?"
"I hide myself quite well…" This time it was her turn to smile.
"Will you forgive me?"
"For the way I treated you all this time… I hurt you… and instead you were always there… like now…"
Clark smiled. "Well, not like now…" She turned her head, but not toward him; she gave him a kiss on the arm that was holding her.
"You know the thing that hurts me most about this whole thing? I was scared I'd lost you… and I didn't understand why it hurt me so much. Clark, I didn't realize how much…" She took a deep breath before continuing. Clark felt her tears rolling down his arm. "I love you…" she whispered.
Clark held her tightly, sinking his face into her hair. "I love you too, Lois, more than anything else in the world…" He paused. She kept kissing his arm, little light kisses. "But here is something I have to tell you. I need you to know… Lois, I would never lie to you… but I have kept something from you." He felt her tense against his own body. "Lois, I'm Superman…" He heaved a sigh of relief, waiting for her reaction, a reaction that didn't come. "Are you OK?" He raised his head to stare at her and he saw her smiling through the tears. She turned her head until she met his gaze, Then she turned herself, hiding her face between his shoulder and his neck. He sweetly made her raise her gaze to meet his eyes again.
"Hey…" Then he gave her a kiss on her mouth and his thumbs wiped her tears. "Why the tears?"
"Have you any idea how many times I hoped you were… no… that Superman'd be you… and now I feel even worse for the way I have treated you… for the way I have treated both of you… I mean…"
"I understand… but now we're together, right? The past is… past… now we're here… you and me."
Lois stretched to kiss him, sweetly and deeply, a tender and passionate kiss that made them loose their sense of time and space. Clark, without realizing it, started to float and she also, held in that embrace. At first she didn't realize it, then after a while she opened her eyes and looked at the mattress a foot below her. "Clark!" she laughed, unable to help it.
"Sorry…" He smiled, embarrassed, as he floated them back down.
"Well, wow… I mean… wow!" A sudden noise came from downstairs, it made them jump. Clark looked with his x-ray vision.
"It's only Perry, he dropped a pot…"
"I hate to say it, but… it'll be better if we get up!"
"I know you're right, but…"
"Come on, Lazybones!!" She tugged on his arm.
"Nahhh. I want to start my new life…" Then her voice became shaky, "Our life."
"You can count on it, honey!" Clark kissed her, got up, then offered his hand to her to help her do the same.
"Want to race to see who will get downstairs first?"
"I'll go for that." Lois started to run before he gave the signal to start, but Clark made up a couple of feet at superspeed.
"It's not fair, you cheated!" They stopped in front of Perry, at work with a pot. Lois had won. She turned glowing eyes toward Clark, but her smile disappeared suddenly. "The glasses!" she whispered so low that only his super-hearing could catch it. After a second Clark was next to her, putting them on his nose. She smiled, trying to be serious when Perry turned to them.
"Did I wake you?"
"No. We were talking…"
"I hope you slept well… because today is going to be a very hard day…"
Lois sobbed. "I've got to look for an apartment!"
"All my stuff is… for more than a week… it's at… at that place… yeah… I mean… Lex's place. I brought all of it… and I know my place was already rented…"
"You can stay at my place for a while. Alice and I are in Florida, the house is half empty… and besides I prefer to stay here… for a couple of days…"
Clark remained quiet for a moment. "The apartment next to mine is empty… if you want…"
"Are you sure? I mean… Yes… Of course…"
"Well… a little later I'll try to ask my landlord…" Lois impulsively kissed him. Then she pulled herself away, remembering about Perry. She saw he was looking at them, smiling. Lois' eyes sparkled with embarrassment as Clark held her to him.
"We've got to wake the guys. We've got to stop Luthor… quickly … we've got to find a way to get our paper back!"
"What?" Lois was confused.
"Lois, Clark'll explain it all to you later but… We found evidence that all Luthor told you was… well, it wasn't the truth… From the destruction of the Planet he earned a heap of money… and he bribed the board of directors of the company to make them sell…"
"It's all my fault then. It's true. I mean… I tried to understand… what he said yesterday. I was too independent… he was trying to take away my independence… wasn't he?"
Perry looked at her and Clark caressed her head. "I don't feel you were very important in his life… Power, that's the only thing he cares for… and the Planet was too big of a risk… he had a web of evil skillfully built around him… there is always a fall guy and he gets away clean. 'Game Over'… Now stop worrying about it… I mean Al Capone was arrested for tax evasion… It just means we need to find a starting point."
Together they outlined a strategy: first they needed to get Jack out of trouble Clark reassured them, saying that Superman would talk with Inspector Henderson about going easy on Jack for his escape. Then Superman would tell all he knew, and knowing Henderson, he would surely help. Lois and Clark were going to plan Lois' moving, making sure to cut all possible ties to Lex Luthor. Perry, Jack and Jimmy were going to investigate on their own the dealings with the Planet's board of directors. ***
Lois shivered at the thought of entering Lex Towers again. In spite of everything, the preparations for the wedding were going on without pause.
"I… I didn't warn my mother… this time she'll kill me!"
Clark smiled. "Do you think so?" She nodded. Clark noticed the security guard phone someone as soon as they came in. That was to be expected. He was just doing his job. Lois realized that the security guard wasn't the same one who was there yesterday; she thought that her little 'surprise' must have cost him his job. They went up to the fifteenth floor, where her furniture was supposed to be.
Her whole apartment was recreated there. Lois remembered that in Luthor's bomb shelter there was another perfect copy of her apartment. Seeing this made her shiver. "I'll have to change my furniture as soon as possible," she thought.
"Where are we going to start?" He moved his glasses slightly down his nose and looked around; then he moved closer to Lois.
"There are three bugs and four micro-television cameras in this room alone," he whispered in her ear.
"I guess that we've got a very big job ahead of us… come on… pack the stuff you want to take away immediately… Superman said that he will come and get the rest himself." Lois gazed at him, smiling.
"Thanks." She looked ruefully at the large pile of boxes and grinned at him. "Saved my life." Then her expression grew more serious. "Just like he always does, huh?" she said quietly.
"I don't know… I guess so…"
She started to pack her suitcases and Clark helped to pack her stuff. Carefully, they avoided the closet containing her underwear. Lois tried to do it as fast she could. Clark looked at his watch and Lois, nodding in agreement, said, "You've got to go or you'll be late… don't worry about me… I'll wait for Superman. He'll be here any minute now… I'm going to be fine."
"OK… I'd rather stay here.., but…"
"Clark, work is work… go… I'll be all right."
"If that's what you want."
"See you later…"
Clark left the room, careful not to move too fast but still trying to get away from the building as quickly as possible. Lois saw him in the street when she opened the windows for her "guest."
At the same moment that Clark disappeared around the corner, the apartment door opened.
"Lex!" Lois jumped when she saw him. They had expected this. They both knew that he wouldn't let her get away without fight. "What do you want?"
"What do I want…? I want you… I desire you… you don't know how much…"
"And Mrs. Cox? How much do you desire her?"
"She means nothing, you know…"
"Well, she was the one you 'played' with and that was only yesterday… I'm to be replaced so quickly too?"
"Darling, it's the jealousy that's making you talk this way…"
"You hurt me… and I didn't deserve it…"
"Darling, let me explain…"
'Clark, how long do you need…?' "I don't want to listen to anything you have to say!"
Lois kept moving back until she found the wall. Lex was able to see the fear in her eyes, and this made him feel that victory was within his grasp. His hand covered her mouth. Instinctively Lois' hands covered her body as if she was naked.
"Now you will be quiet as we talk…" Lois felt Lex's other hand settle on her shoulder and she moaned. "And you are not going to cry out… because we need to talk business… you know what I might offer to you… what do you want? The Planet? It's yours… think about it… back in the newsroom again, your friends… you care for your friends, isn't it true, Lois?" He didn't wait for the answer as he moved his hand from her mouth and started to slip it down her body. "You don't want anything to happen to Jack, or Cat, or Jimmy, or Perry" — he paused — "or maybe to Clark… or your sweet little sister, do you?"
"Please, Lex!" 'Clark help me… Help!'
"So… I can see that you're starting to understand. How do you like this deal: you'll have all this… and I'll have you…" One hand started to fondle her, as the other… kept slipping down her body. "You know there are so many accidents… Think about it: your little sister that walks alone around town…"
"Lex… don't make me do this!"
"I believe that this will be fun… I don't really want to wait until the wedding…" His hand started to go down her leg, slipping under her skirt. Lois tried to struggle, but he stopped her. "You know, the more you are kind to me, the more she'll avoid being mugged, kidnapped, raped… accidents, murder…" The tears rolled down her face when his hand moved into the waistband of her panties.
A sudden gust of wind broke the scene. A second later Lex had been pitched to the other side of the room.
Clark embraced her, but a strange buzzing sounded in his brain.
"I'm taking you away!" he told her. But Lex put himself in front of them.
"I don't think so… Superman!" With this Luthor pulled out a pistol and pointed it at Superman's chest.
"You know that bullets have no effect on me!"
"Well, try this!" At that instant the gun fired and Clark felt the shot penetrate his shoulder. A second later a second shot followed the first. This time the pain was very close to his heart. Superman swayed as Lois tried to break his fall, accompanying him to the floor.
"No…!" Lois was desperate. She had never seen so much blood from wounds like these. Lex stood next to them, laughing.
"Maybe… Am I making a mistake? Will the pain of losing the challenge that you represent be worse than the pain of constantly losing to you? Nah!" Then he turned to Lois. "Why don't you think again about my proposal… maybe after you see your big hero die, you'll change your mind." Lex locked the door behind himself as he left.
Lois couldn't turn her eyes from Clark. She caressed his face without being able to speak, and, at the same time, trying with an effort not to call out his name.
The pain made him convulse. The blood kept pouring out of his wounds. Lois closed her eyes, trying for a moment to find the calm, clear-headed thinking she knew she needed. She opened her closet, looking for a towel. The move had not duplicated everything in her apartment and it took a few seconds to find a towel. When she found it, she pressed it tightly on his wounds, trying to stop the blood. Clark convulsed, trying not to cry out in his pain.
She stretched her hand to her bag to grab her cell phone. Instead of calling the police she called the only people that would be able to help her. All the while Clark was becoming weaker and weaker.
"Dad… I'm at Luthor Towers. Lex shot Superman… he's hurt… please… help me!"
"What? Try to calm down, princess… How did it happen?"
"Lex shot him with a Kryptonite bullet … it is the only thing able to hurt him… the Kryptonite radiations are killing him…"
"Where was he hit?"
"One is in his shoulder, the other is lower… I don't know. Maybe it's near the heart… I don't know… there's too much blood…" Clark kept calling her name and each time it got softer and softer. She pushed the towel against the wounds.
"Lois, there is just one thing to do. You've got to extract the bullets…"
"But how… what do I do?"
"You must grab them with your fingers… you'll hurt him… but you are his only hope… maybe if you get the Kryptonite away from his body…"
Lois knew that Lex had television cameras and bugs there. He was going to be here in a few seconds if he realized that she was able to communicate with the outside world.
She'd have to stop Lex before he stopped her.
She got up quickly and went to the furniture nearest the door. She tried to move it, but it was too heavy for her. She tried to overturn it. It was not easy, but she did it. This would hinder Lex if he tried to open the door. Then she turned to Clark. He was so pale. She realized that he had stopped calling her name. She ran next to him and stroked his hair.
"I know I'll hurt you, but…" She took a deep breath and pushed her fingers into his shoulder. He was wracked with pain. The Kryptonite radiation made the bullet glow so that it was easier to locate. She was able to catch it with the tips of her fingers and slipped it out slowly.
Doctor Lane's yells were heard coming from her cell phone. "Honey!"
Lois picked up the phone.
"Honey, what's happening?"
"I took out the first bullet."
"Good work, my darling, but be careful… check to see that there isn't any shrapnel and that the bullets are undamaged!!! Otherwise the effort is wasted."
Lois cleaned the bullet that was stained with Clark's blood on her dress. It was totally undamaged, but Clark was not getting any better.
She repeated the operation with the second, but it was much deeper. She felt her stomach turn. "I'm sorry… but there's no other way…" Then she felt it. A sudden noise against the door made her jump.
Lex was here. She had to do this quickly. She had to grab the bullet and slip it out.
A deep breath accompanied the extraction of the second bullet. Lois checked it, and it too was undamaged. She grabbed both of them and threw them out of the window as far as possible. It was at that time that she heard police sirens coming nearer.
Lois dragged Clark's body out of sight. She didn't want him to be too exposed should Lex enter. She watched as the door fell under the blows of a fire extinguisher and she trembled when the man crossed the threshold.
"This isn't good, baby… at the very least I might hurt you… and you don't want that, do you?" Lois stood in front of Lex, who, with that gun in his hand, wanted to shoot Superman again.
"I'm not going to let you do it! I won't allow you to kill him!"
"Aren't you? And how you are going to stop me?"
"I'll use every way possible!"
"Marry me… and all the people you care for will be safe… obviously I'll kill Superman… but all the others will live!"
"You are crazy!"
"And you are boring me!" Lex caught her throat. Lois tried to defend herself with martial arts, but Lex was quicker. She felt the hand of the man she hated held against her throat while the gun started to move slowly on her body.
Lois moaned "No…"
"Meanwhile…" Lois tried, vainly, to escape. The grasp at her throat started to become a stranglehold.
Lex pointed the gun where he thought Clark would be, but, much to his surprise, his hated enemy was not there. At the same moment, there was a sudden gust of wind, and in a matter of seconds, Lex was disarmed, pulled away from Lois, and tied up with some sheets.
Lois felt a little faint, but Clark caught her in his arms and put her on the bed.
"Are you feeling all right?" She asked starting to choke, a natural reaction to her almost strangulation. Lois stroked his shoulder. The wounds were totally healed, but she did notice two big holes in the "Suit."
"Yes… I'm fully recovered… and you?"
"Fine." She stared at him for a while. Then she slipped against him, holding him tight. "I was scared I was losing you… for ever." She whispered so that Lex couldn't hear. Police cars stopped in front the building.
From the street Clark recognized Inspector Henderson's voice.
"Wait here… I'll be back in a bit." Two minutes later Clark was there again.
"I gave the Inspector the details about what happened here. It was a break for us that Luthor recorded everything. I told the police where we are… They're going to be here in a while…" ***
Hours later, the band regrouped at Clark's place. Lois was not able to bring her stuff away. It would all be released to her in a few days after the investigation was complete. She, however, planned to buy something new in a store near the Planet, and she decided that she wouldn't live in a place that had another copy of her stuff in the vaults of Luthor Tower. She decided to change.
Superman spoke for a long time with Inspector Henderson. He told him about Jack, the way he had been framed. He told him some things about Lex, things that he wasn't able to prove, but he knew that they might be used by the police to keep him in jail and hopefully throw away the key.
Jack was cleared of all charges in a couple of days.
Perry spent his days discussing things with the new owner of the Planet. They were going to rebuild it again. Totally. But they were going to keep the same team, except for Cat, who preferred to keep her job on TV. This was probably going to be the last evening that everybody would be sleeping at Clark's place.
They partied until around 3 o'clock.
Lois and Clark slept, as they had the previous night, holding each other.
Clark awoke during the night and found Lois gazing at him.
"Did I wake you?"
"I like to be awakened by you."
" I like watching you sleep ."
"Something's bothering you?" Lois smiled, embarrassed.
"Just a little… I can't help thinking about Lex. I mean… How did I make such a big mistake with him…? I'm a reporter… it's my job to understand what people hide… but I let myself be dazzled by a little luxury and a little of power… and then I think of you… I didn't realize who you were… and I let myself be dazzled by a cape and gold 'S'…"
"Lois, people often see what they want to see. It was all right to think that Lex was a good person… and you deserve it… because you deserve only the best!"
"I have the best… I'm with you now. Even though I don't believe I deserve you really…"
"Lois… it's late…"
"You wanted to sleep, didn't you? I'm sorry…"
"I didn't say so… but to tell you the truth… I don't want to talk…"
"Clark!" Lois flushed and thanked the dark. "I never believed you were so… Farmboy… you keep surprising me…"
Clark kissed her, a sweet and passionate kiss. Lois realized that they had started to float again, but this time she said nothing. From the floating position, they could see Metropolis. The town was incredibly silent, and the color of the lights illuminated their embrace.
"The city is so pretty at this time of night."
"The most beautiful I've ever seen…" Clark answered, smiling and looking toward her. Lois kissed him, and that kiss was the true beginning of their new life.